343 Industries introduced two new concepts to Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One during E3 this week. The first was the big Warzone multiplayer mode that features 12 versus 12 versus everything. The second was REQ (requisition) packs that contain weapons, vehicles, and cosmetic items. The latter has turned slightly controversial, as it was revealed that these can be purchased through microtransactions. The impact to gameplay appears to be minimal, though, once 343 Industries gets done explaining how the REQ packs work.
The introduction of micro-transactions to Halo 5 was expected when 343 Industries revealed that all the DLC multiplayer maps and modes will be free. Moving away from paid DLC allows the community using micro-transactions to support free DLC has already worked successfully in titles like Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and prevents dividing up the game’s community based on who bought what DLC pack. The trick is to ensure that the micro-transactions do not include anything that can’t be earned through gameplay, and that it doesn’t become a pay to win scenario.
So, how do REQ Packs work with Halo 5? Each pack comes with a variety of unlockable weapons, vehicles, skins, assassination animations, and more. Players can earn the packs in-game by leveling up their Spartan Rank and completing Commendations in multiplayer, according to 343 Industries Studio Head Josh Holmes. Yes, they can be purchased, as well, though prices haven’t been announced yet.
Only the cosmetic items from REQ Packs can be used in the Arena multiplayer mode, however. This is Halo 5‘s traditional competitive multiplayer mode and is being built to keep gameplay and weapons balanced, as we saw in the beta from the end of last year.
Meanwhile, power weapons and vehicles from REQ Packs can be utilized in the over-the-top Warzone mode, but their use is limited by requirements that must be met before they can be brought into a match. For example, calling in a Ghost requires not only that the team reaches a certain REQ Level in the match but that the player has a certain amount of REQ Energy, also earned in the match, to spend. The result is that players have to think about what what to bring in and when during a match, according to a comment from Holmes on the TeamBeyond forums.
Holmes went on to explain that the Warzone videos from the E3 demo are not exactly what players should expect when Halo 5 is released on October 27.
“The E3 demo is an accelerated experience with minimal energy limitation, so take any E3 footage you see with a grain of salt when it comes to how frequently players are able to deploy their requisitions,” he wrote. “We wanted to let players try a bunch of different stuff at E3 to get a feel for the mode.”
343 Industries will continue to add new items to REQ Packs after the Halo 5 launch. The hope is that the content that can be earned (or purchased) through REQ Packs along with the free new multiplayer maps and modes will keep the game fresh beyond just its initial launch period.
Proceeds from the sales of REQ Packs will not only go towards offsetting the cost of Halo 5‘s DLC, but will also be used to increase the prize pools in the game’s eSport, the Halo Championship Series.
We’ll have to wait and see how REQ Packs work when Halo 5 launches and if they need any tweaking to help keep them balanced. That said, I’m an admitted fan of the way micro-transactions were implemented in PvZ: Garden Warfare in order to keep DLC free, and 343 Industries appears to be on the same path here, which is a good thing.
[Images via Halo Waypoint]